Friday, December 10, 2010 Quirk in 1930 US Census fixed!

I complained in June 2009, in Quirk - 1930 Census Index, that the 1930 U.S. Census database on had some serious search problems, including:

*  Birthplace indexed for only head of household or persons of a different surname in the household (i.e., birthplace of spouse and children not indexed)

*  Father's birthplace was not indexed

*  Mother's birthplace was not indexed

*  A commenter noted that Race was indexed only for the Head of Household.

Those created serious search problems for me, and others, who had used those search fields in the 1920 and earlier census records.

The current 1930 U.S. Census Basic Search box (in New Search) looks like this:

It includes First Name, Last Name, Birth Year and Birth Place, Lived In, Any Event, Family Members, Keywords and Race.  However, the search results using the Basic form are all using Default Search Settings.

I prefer the Advanced Search form, which looks like this (two screens below):

The search fields now include First Name, Last Name,  Birth Year an d Birth Place, Lived In, Any Event, Family Member, Keyword, Relation to Head of Household, Race/Ethnicity, Father's Birthplace and Mother's Birthplace. 

The key to narrowing the search is to judiciously use the different search settings.  If you use the "Default Setting" for everything, you will get thousands of matches, although your target will usually be in the first few matches if the names were enumerated correctly.  I usually change the "Default Settings" to "Restrict to Exact" for the names, the lived in, and several other fields.

I tried this out, using the Advanced Search form, putting the following in the Search firm:

*  First Name = "betty" (restricted to exact)

*  Birth Year - "1919 plus/minus 2 years"

*  Lived in - "San Diego County, California, USA" (selected from the dropdown list)

*  Father's Name = "Lyle" (restricted to exact)

*  Mother's birthplace = "Illinois, USA" (selected from the dropdown list)

With those search fields only, I received this match:

The right one.  I tried this in June 2009 and got no matches.

I'm glad that has added more indexed fields to the 1930 census.  It will relieve some frustration with the census searches, especially for those who don't understand the nuances of doing searches on Ancestry.

Disclosure:  I am not an employee, contractor or affiliate of  I have accepted travel, hotel, meals and incidental expense from at certain times.  I have a fully paid U.S. Deluxe subscription.  I was not remunerated for writing this article.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You referenced: "...the nuances of doing searches on Ancestry."

What a hoot! You gave me my laugh for the day! Thanks! ;-)